1. Bulk up your meals. There's a lot of evidence that bulk -- that is, fiber -- reduces appetite. So turn up the volume with higher-fiber foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans. These foods also tend to have a high water content, which helps you feel full.
2. Cool off your appetite with soup. Have a bowl of broth or vegetable-based soup (hot or cold) for a first course, and you'll probably end up eating fewer total calories at that meal. Creamy or high-fat soups need not apply for this job -- stick to the low-cal, high-fiber choices like minestrone or vegetable- bean type soups.
3. Crunch your appetite away with a big salad. One study found that when people had a large (3 cups), low-calorie (100 calories) salad before lunch, they ate 12% fewer calories during the meal. When they had a smaller salad (1 1/2 cups and 50 calories), they ate 7% fewer calories overall. You can make the same salads used in the study: Toss romaine lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, celery, and cucumbers together, and top with fat-free or low-fat dressing. But beware the fatty salad! Eating a high-calorie salad, even a small one, can encourage us to eat more calories at the meal than if we ate no salad at all.
4. Stay on course. A little bit of variety in our meals is good and even healthful. But having several courses during a meal can lead you down the wrong path. Adding an extra course to your meal (unless it's a low-calorie salad or broth-type soup) usually increases the total calories you consume for that meal.
5. An orange or grapefruit a day helps keep appetite away. Research suggests that low-calorie plant foods that are rich in soluble fiber -- like oranges and grapefruit -- help us feel fuller faster and keep blood sugars steady. This can translate into better appetite control. Of the 20 most popular fruits and vegetables, oranges and grapefruits are highest in fiber!
6. Get milk (or other low-fat dairy foods). Increasing your intake of low-fat dairy foods is a great way to get more of two proteins that are thought to be appetite suppressors -- whey and casein. And drinking milk may be especially effective. A recent study found that whey -- the liquid part of milk -- was better at reducing appetite than casein.